Ochenski Tells Democrats It’s Time for Democrats to Start Acting Like Democrats

by jhwygirl

This past Saturday, The Indy’s award-winning supermontanacolumnist George Ochenski gave the keynote speech at the Flathead Democrat’s Annual Harvest Dinner. Never one to hold back on the truth, the big GO delivered a barn-burner, closing to a standing ovation and inspiring all who attended.

It’s no secret that I absolutely worship George Ochenski. He says he isn’t a political strategist, and he says he isn’t a political leader, but there isn’t a doubt in my mind that the Democrats would be a in a better place – the Montana Democrats would be in a better place – if he were.

Ochenski is an inspiration to me and many others. I say that without a doubt as to the truth of that statement.

I also doubt he’d been able to finish this speech if I were there – I’da been standing on my chair, fist raised, shouting as loud as I could “Hell yeah!” before he’da been half-way through. Jess Grennan knows what I’m talking about.

Want to know what it means to be a Democrat? Wonder, these days, what it should mean? His entire words are a must-read. I’m tempted to print out a few copies and send ‘em to Washington. And Helena.

The Speech

Before I do my Rod Sterling imitation and welcome you to the Twilight Zone that is modern-day politics, I’d like to personally thank those folks who made it possible for me to be here tonight. First and foremost, the Flathead Democratic Women and the Flathead Democratic Party for their kind invitation to speak. I’d also like to thank Margie Gignac for all her work and extend special appreciation to JoLynne and Jerry Yenne for kindly allowing my wife and I to use their great cabin where we enjoyed a very peaceful evening last night.

But the sand is running through the hourglass, so let’s jump right into the Twilight Zone and try to make some sense of the strange and swirling maelstrom into which American politics have descended.

First, I’d like to talk about “Why the Right is Wrong”…the easy part of this speech.

As we all know, having lived through eight nightmare years of the George W. Bush and Dick Cheney cabal, the Republicans have nothing, I repeat, nothing to offer us in the way of a vision for a better future.

You all remember, as do I, the phony campaign promises by Republicans to “restore dignity” to Washington following the end of Bill Clinton’s presidency. Their first move, aided and abetted by Montana’s own Governor Marc Racicot, was to “restore dignity” by stealing the election through voter intimidation, hanging chads and a conservative Supreme Court that decided it was more important to “move on” than accurately tally the votes of the people. And so we wound up with George Bush in the White House.

Perhaps, were it not for the September 11 attacks, Mr. Bush would have been the incompetent one-term president so many predicted. But that was not to be. Instead, a shocked, paranoid and complicit Congress – both Democrats and Republicans – cranked the wheel hard to the right through a series of events from which we have not recovered to this day – and may never fully recover.

Instead of dignity, we got deception. Instead of transparency, we got obfuscation, secrecy and denial of access to formerly public information. Instead of the Republicans’ much-vaunted “fiscal conservatism,” we tipped off the edge of wildly out-of-control spending, launching two wars and vastly increasing the military and intelligence agency budgets while domestic needs took a back seat and civil liberties, freedom and privacy were sacrificed to the umbrella excuse of “national security.”

In a throwback to the Age of Imperialism, Bush launched two wars, neither of which was justifiable and both of which, sadly, are still ongoing.

The invasion of Afghanistan was cloaked in the “mission” to kill or capture Osama bin Laden. But Afghanistan, with its towering Hindu Kush Mountains, is a wild country that has never been successfully occupied by any foreign force. The bones of the British Empire still molder in the Khyber Pass more than a century after their failed attempts at domination. Likewise, the rusted remains of Soviet tanks and helicopter gunships still litter the countryside decades later, an all-too-grim reminder that modern superpowers have no more chance of success there than the horse-borne armies of the past.

And now, of course, American blood mixes with the dust of centuries on Afghanistan’s forbidding landscapes while Osama bin Laden, wherever he may be, laughs at America’s folly in thinking we, unlike all others, can somehow subdue Afghanistan’s wild tribes. He laughs, too, as our Treasury is sucked dry by the effort, a grim parallel to the fiscal crisis widely blamed for the collapse and subsequent fracturing of the Soviet Union that, in fact, is having the same effect on our nation.

Shortly after the invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq fell into the Bush-Cheney crosshairs, despite the fact that Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11. What it did and does have to do with is oil. The world of oil is the world of Dick Cheney, and as we heard time and again, “Iraq is floating on a sea of oil.”

So it was that Bush, Cheney and their military-industrial complex advisors and a complicit Congress launched another war at a cost vastly exceeding what it would have taken to simply buy the oil if we wanted it so badly.

But of course that doesn’t take into account the other costs. The dead men and women of our Armed Services, the fractured families, those who returned home broken or beset with the demons of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the uncounted casualties inflicted upon the people of Iraq. We still have 50,000 troops in Iraq today, suffering and dying while the debt burden for future generations continues to rocket skyward as the true price of this calamitous war becomes ever more clear.

Perhaps even worse than these unimaginable military and financial disasters is the policy and social detritus left in the wake of the failed Republicans. Warrantless search and seizure, extraordinary renditions, (more commonly called international kidnapping and torture), and a nation at war with itself.

Long after Bush’s infamous “you’re either with us or against us” rhetoric has faded, the reality of what that did to our country lives on. We are no longer a country united in our goals and holding high the torch of Liberty, but one in which, neighbor turns suspiciously against neighbor, where distortion and outright lies replace truth and open debate, and where our own government spies on us, puts us on “do not fly” lists without our knowledge, and even marks American citizens for assassination without the benefit of a trial or the opportunity to present defense…thus crumbling even the most basic foundation of our judicial system that, as a people, we are all “innocent till proven guilty.”

And this is where the Tea Party comes into the picture.

The very name is derived from the phrase “Taxed Enough Already.” But as Montanans know only too well, the TEA Party agenda has veered wildly from the legitimate questions of taxation levels into far more radicalized arenas.

Could it be anymore plain when Glenn Beck takes the stage in Washington to wrap himself in the flag, like so many scoundrels before him, proclaiming God as the answer to all man’s problems, and to suggest that those who don’t follow his path do not deserve a place in the great experiment that is American politics? Nothing could be more antithetical to the principles upon which this nation was founded than to decry the right of each person to choose what to believe – or what not to believe.

When religion becomes the cornerstone of any political movement, freedom of thought and action are soon headed for extinction.

And how ironic that while American troops are fighting and killing the religion-based Taliban in Afghanistan, our own country is being urged by Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin to emulate the Taliban by persecuting those who do not march in lock-step to their particular drummer.

But in this instance, Montanans do not need to look to national figures to see the ugly inner workings of the Tea Party. Only two weeks ago, Tim Ravndal, the president of the Montana Tea Party Association, revealed the depth of the hatred and bigotry that boils away just beneath the surface of Taxed Enough Already.

What does the murder of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard have to do with taxation? The answer is “exactly nothing.” Shepard was beaten and left to die hanging on a barb wire fence for the great crime of being gay. His sexual preference was his death sentence. And unfortunately, the ugly revelations from Ravndal’s online postings made fun of what was referred to as a manual for “hanging fruits” that would be available in Wyoming.

Ravndal deserved to go, but he is just one member of an organization that many say is actually manipulated from the very top by well-funded right-wingers, intent on remaking America in their image rather than allowing open debate and the long-standing workings of democracy to function.

Again, here in Montana, it is not hard to recall the obvious threat presented by those who “open carry” firearms to political functions. The message couldn’t be much clearer – “We are armed and we are dangerous and we hate President Obama and the Democrats.”

And where does armed intimidation of the populace by select segments lead us? Why, right back to Afghanistan, once again, where you either behave as a certain sector demands or face a bullet.

Dressing in the garments of the Revolutionary War, which was fought to escape oppression, doesn’t change what is now evident – that fear, intimidation and oppression of “the others” is the driving force behind this movement.

And so the case continues to build that the TEA Party is actually misnamed and should be called the POP Party. POP standing for Pissed Off People, a movement that claims no leaders, no central purpose and no particular path except to evince anger and frustration at the current situation and find someone, anyone, on which to vent.

In this respect, we may all have a scintilla of sympathy for these people. Who isn’t frustrated and angry right now about the state of the nation? The tragedy, however, is that the Tea Party is capitalizing on that anger and frustration which both the Republican Party and, sad to say, the Democrats, continue to deny.

And that brings us to the most difficult part of my speech to you tonight – which is the state of the Democratic Party.

When I told people I was coming up here to address the Flathead Democrats, a number of political wags quipped “both of ‘em?”

But when I asked what I should tell you, virtually everyone said the same thing: “Tell them the truth. Tell them it’s time for Democrats to act like Democrats.”

Indeed, an easy thing to say as well as an honorable and high-minded goal.

After all, Democrats have long held the torch of Liberty high.

Democrats have long supported the working people and the middle class.

And Democrats have long fought for equality, justice and tolerance.

These are the core values upon which the Democratic Party was founded and has flourished. These are the values that George Bush and his Republicans left behind and that, only two short years ago, led to the Great Upheaval that threw the Republicans from power and replaced them with the largest Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress in three decades. And put Democrat Barack Obama in the White House as the first black President of the United States.

Democrats came to power on the promise of “Change and Hope” – supported by a tidal wave of enthusiasm, a surge of young people anxious for a better future, and a revitalized constituency ready to move our country away from war and international militarism to more sane, focused and tolerant policies that would implement those core values of liberty, justice and freedom for ALL.

I don’t need to tell you, my friends, that this is an unexpectedly dark time for Democrats…you can read it in the headlines every day.

Yesterday, I awoke to this across the top of my morning paper: “1 in 7 Americans living in poverty.” That America, one of the world’s richest nations in the entire history of mankind should have 1 in 7 of its people impoverished isn’t just bad news, it’s a betrayal of everything this nation stands for.

That would seem to be an incontrovertible assumption, yet in the article following the headline, President Obama is quoted as saying “it could have been worse.”

While it may not make many happy, it’s time to acknowledge that the Democrats will not win and will not retain the political power necessary to bring the desperately needed changes to our nation by running on a platform of “it could have been worse.”

Nor will they win on a platform of blaming George W. Bush who, along with his Congressional majorities, is long gone from mis-steering the Ship of State.

The Democrats are fully in charge now and have been for nearly two full years. And yet they are in deep trouble, often divided, and facing an uncertain future. Of all the hundreds of commentaries, columns and speeches I’ve reviewed in the last months concerning the gloomy outlook for Democrats in the coming elections, the simplest and most direct wisdom I found came in these words from Thomas Geoghegan writing in The Nation:

“Yes, the country is in a foul mood, with 15 million unemployed. The Democrats may get clobbered in 2010. And even if we survive, how do we hang on for the long term? If our great founder, FDR, could come back to us, he might remind us of the three simple rules that once, long ago, Democrats used to follow: 1. Do something for your base, 2. Do something for your base, 3. Do something for your base.”

You, my friends, are the Democrat base.

It is not Wall St. – nor has it ever been.

It is not Corporate America – nor has it ever been.

It is not the military-industrial complex – nor has it ever been.

It is not the top two percent of Americans who enjoy vast riches while the rest of us see our real-world worth, earnings and holdings decline – nor has it ever been.

The examples of how the Democrats have veered from the mission to “do something for their base” are, unfortunately, far too many in the last two years.

The base, those who rallied, called, put up yard signs, organized events like this one — and then turned out at the polls to vote for their Democratic candidates – have not been well-served. Instead, they have watched, sometimes in dismay and horror, as the promised CHANGE was once again derailed by the fearsome array of power and money that surrounds Washington, D.C.

I write an opinion column, and it is my opinion that pounding our chest about the so-called “health care reform” bill is a desperate attempt to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.

It doesn’t take a great memory to recall that, from the beginning, we were told by the Democrats putting the bill together that single-payer, a system used by most of the industrialized nations of the world to provide universal health care for their people, was “off the table.” Why? Because the insurance industry convinced an all-too-willing Montana Senator that any so-called “reform” must leave that industry – and it’s enormous profits — firmly between patients and their doctors. That is NOT serving the base, that is kow-towing to power and trying to convince us otherwise.

Had the Republicans drafted the provision that all Americans would be required to buy health insurance, the Democrats would have ridden them out of town as yet another sign of Draconian Bush policies. But as you all know, that didn’t happen and instead, the mandate has been turned into a rallying point for the Republicans and Tea Party as states across the nation sue the federal government in retaliation.

Had Republicans re-authorized the assassination of American citizens without trial, the Democrats would have cried out for justice, for habeus corpus, for the right to a trial by a jury of their peers. But instead, yet another despicable process begun under Bush is being carried forward by a Democratic administration.

The much-vaunted “financial reform” bill is likewise primarily a continuation of the status quo. If we are to take heart, it is in the formation of a fledgling Consumer Protection Agency, the newly-appointed head of which had to be installed on a temporary basis because confirmation by the broken processes of the U.S. Senate wouldn’t have happened.

And now, faced with what shouldn’t even be a matter of debate for Democrats — whether to continue massive, deficit-building tax breaks for the richest amongst us or limit them to the middle class — Congressional Democrats stand divided, openly challenging the position of their own leader in the White House. Somehow, and this remains a mystery, a Republican minority dictates that the starting point for the discussion is extending the tax breaks for all.

I am not a Demo strategist nor a party leader. I simply write a political opinion column and so it is far beyond my ability to change the party so that it once again “Does Something for the Base.”

But I will offer these suggestions:

First and foremost, hold your elected officials to their campaign promises.

When universal health care is promised, don’t settle for a continued fleecing by the insurance industry while the neediest among us are left to fend for themselves – or simply get sick and die.

When peace is promised, don’t settle for more war.

When transparency is promised, don’t accept a continued policy of shutting the public out of the information upon which we rely to make informed judgments regarding public policy, expenditures of taxpayer money or America’s war-making abroad. We deserve to know who we’re killing with Predator drone strikes in Pakistan, we deserve to know how much we’re spending on “black ops” and we deserve to know why our own government is invading our personal privacy in our emails, phone calls, and homes.

Don’t settle for “it could have been worse” when what you really expected to hear is “we made it much better.”

If “Change and Hope” is the campaign promise, don’t accept that in a few short months it will morph into “Hope for Change.”

If a governor promises a “New Day in Montana,” don’t accept that Arch Coal gets to dictate the price it will pay for the Otter Creek Coal Tracts to our Land Board – or that the majority of that all-Democrat Board will roll over like dogs to obey and then divert the money they said would go to schools for other purposes.

As the old saying goes, “you dance with the one that brung ya” and YOU are the people that brought elected Democrats to the dance. It is YOU they should be serving, not the powerful elite who milk this country mercilessly and leave our children and their children a hollowed out husk of what could have been.

The core Democratic principles of liberty, freedom, personal privacy, government accountability and tolerance for all had the power to move our people to become a great nation — and they retain that power to this day. Those are the principles that, truly, are the flame on the torch of the Statue of Liberty.

I do not know if there is time, in the waning weeks prior to this election, to rejuvenate the Democrat base. But I can tell you this – if we have any hope whatsoever for the future, it will be Democrats who carry these principles forward, who motivate our young people with a vision of a better world, who comfort our old, tired, and ill.

It will not be the Tea Party and it will certainly not be the Republicans. We have seen them in action and we cannot yet again hand over this state and nation to their dubious policies and principles.
You, far more than I, know what to do on the local level and how to do it.

In that regard, I would bring to mind the dramatic battle of Flathead Democrat Ben Cohen nearly 25 years ago.

It was Ben — whose wife and son are in the audience tonight by the way — in his role as a member of the Montana House of Representatives, who had the courage to stand against the might of Proctor and Gamble to achieve a noble goal – keeping the incredible purity of Flathead Lake intact for future generations by eliminating phosphate-containing detergents from the watershed.

I was there as a young lobbyist, in the trenches with Ben when the Big Guns of Corporate America were rolled out against the truly minimal resources he and a handful of environmental activists could muster.

They had legions of lawyers and lobbyists and virtually endless money to spend. But we had what Proctor and Gamble did not. We had the truth — and we had the support of the local people who wanted their children and their children’s children to be able to enjoy what we have enjoyed.

We fought hard in the Legislature and, against all odds, we won. And then we had to fight again here in the Flathead Valley to finally achieve the goal –which as recent studies from Yellow Bay confirm, continues to bear fruit a quarter of a century later.

Ben, as many of you know, passed on some years back…and we miss him greatly. But his legacy lives on.
So, too, with the Democrats. You may not win all the battles, but if you don’t stand strong on your core principles, you will win none of them.

And so I urge you tonight – go do what you’re good at. Talk to your neighbors, get them to the polls, write those letters to the editor and demand – yes, I said DEMAND – that your Democratic candidates keep their campaign promises at every level.
The old saying in political circles is that those people who are inclined to vote for Republicans will vote for a real Republican over a Democrat trying to sound like a Republican every time. Heed that advice.

You are Democrats. You have a long and proud tradition of standing up for what is best about America. Stay strong to that tradition and you will prevail because YOU ARE THE BASE…YOU ARE THE PEOPLE.

And in the future, as with the legacy of Ben Cohen, many will look back in sincere gratitude for your efforts and generations yet to come will thank you, over and over, for your commitment, courage and strength in the face of the adversity and animosity you face today.

I thank you all for your kindness this evening, but most of all for what you do to make our state and nation better than it is and as great as it may be.

Keep it up, there’s a tough fight ahead. And as Princess Leia said to Obi Wan Kenobe in the old Star Wars movie –“you’re our only hope.”

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  1. good for the flathead democrats for having the courage and vision to invite george ochenski to speak. his words ring true and should pinken the ears of many embarrassed politicians who settle for could have been worse while their people are suffering.

    could have been worse for whom? is my question.

    it is already much worse than these cowardly leaders should have ever allowed to happen. and as george’s latest column in the independent states. they will reap what they sow.

  2. as bill clinton said on face the nation this morning…. i do not understand what the tea party really stands for, but i get why they are angry.

    i and many independents are angry about the cowards who promised change and gave us more of the same handouts to the wealthy the bush administration favored. i get why the tea partiers are angry too. i don’t agree with following a corporate sponsored group to express that anger so i an many in this country must cry in the wilderness until someone gets it.

    so far only george and a handful of people seem to grasp the non-tea-party anger out there. i believe it is the silent majority of americans who are too tired, overworked, disillusioned, and depressed about the failure of the leadership of this country to express the growing anger which is building out there. tea party astro-turfers hired by billionaires and self-serving right wing corporate interests have figured out a way to tap into those dumb enough to swallow their greed, hate and profit driven tea party agendas.

    most of us just want fairness in america. we don’t want handouts. we want to pool our own money so we can supply our own health insurance without health insurers getting between us and our doctors. we want decent paying jobs and fair lending. we want to defend our own borders and leave other countries to fight their own unending medeival battles. i am a noisy member of this silent majority who is willing to work for the future of this country. i guess the question george is asking is…. who is with me?

    i think the majority is with him. now where is the politician who will listen to us?

  3. Indeed a rousing speech! I would remind George, however, that Democrats have always been as they are now … the party was for a short while heavily influenced by movements like enviros and civil rights and women, but the 80′s saw a purge, the rise of the DLC. Without movements, politicians do not move. FDR and LBJ only did what they did because of movements on the ground. They were scared of popular rebellion.

    What on earth is Bill Clinton chiming in for? He’s part of the problem, a retroactive liberal who was quite a righty when in office.

    Politicians will listen when we are more than discordant voices, when those of us who say what is true are not banned both from Baucus hearings, but also from web sites like this one.

    • Desperate for friends again, Mark?

  4. Big Swede

    I see dead people.

    Politically speaking, of course.

  5. The Polish Wolf

    Why must we always compare our mission in Afghanistan to that of the Soviets? The soviets were trying to install a puppet government that was clearly opposed by the majority of Afghans. The US has a much easier task – install a Democracy, which by definition is a government that will do what the people want. Obviously, corruption and nepotism have inhibited the perfect efficiency of this theory (here and there), but that is to be expected. The Mujahadeen who fought the Soviets were never as UNpopular as the Taliban are now – in fact, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are both less trusted than the Coalition there, and that takes some doing (most trusted – India. Go figure). We’re not fighting a popular movement, and we’re not even taking on local warlords (the problems faced by the Russians and Brits, respectively). We are trying to eliminate a group that is on the fringe even of Afghan society, and continues to exist only through funding from the outside.

    • This was tongue-in-cheek. Right?

  6. lizard19

    we must continue comparing our military adventure in the af-pak theatre to the ruskies because it will have the same effect–calamitous, wide spread domestic impoverishment and imperial collapse.

    wolf, i just want to point out an absurd statement you made: install a Democracy. true democracy doesn’t need to be “installed”. it emerges through the will of the people. the arrogance of this country trying to impose a political structure on another country is beyond audacious, not to mention, in this case, not true.

    this country needs to stick to what it’s good at: installing McDonalds and movies abroad while sitting at home on our fat asses as our own democracy sputters and chokes for life.

  7. i second that lizard. both wars are absurd reminders of a bygone era. any thought of so-called benevolent imperial dominion went out when the royal navy fired a round of grapeshot into a crowd in india and gandhi took over.

    until a people want it themselves, democracy is not possible. neither country has demonstrated any inclination toward true representative government. it is just american supported corruption.

    we should bring our troops home and start worrying about our own corruption being promulgated by our own government which ignores the clear will of the majority of the american public and leans ever more precariously toward a corporate dictatorship fueled by lobbyist dollars.

  8. lizard19

    to illustrate my point, here is a snip from a piece posted today at counterpunch:

    On International Democracy Day last week, satellite TV channels across our region focused on the type of democracy imported, together with details of the bloodbaths, disasters, wars and American invasions driven by hatred for Muslims. Democracy was invoked as an ideal, regardless of people’s living standards, the disasters befalling them and the gutters they are thrown into under the pretext of raising the standard of political action to the level of ‘democracy’.

    In Iraq, a fifth of the population has become illiterate after ‘democratic’ invaders have killed a million people, including thousands of scientists and intellectuals. Mesopotamian memory is full of millions of tragic stories about widows, orphans, poverty, killing and violence brought about by Americans. No one in the Western media writes about the life of these people or tries to assess the actual destruction of the quality of these people’s lives. The same applies to Afghanistan and Pakistan which have been torn by violence and war and daily killing by American drones. American talk about ‘democracy’ is completely divorced from issues such as provision of water, electricity, schools, work, security and dignity. So, what is this democracy, and what are its objectives if it does not aim at improving people’s lives?

    no one knows the true extent of the consequences we will face as a nation because of the trillion dollar war splurge and MILLIONS of dead brown people our bipartisan foreign policy has created, and continues to perpetuate, no matter the political designation of our mighty commander in chief.

    if we had more citizens like ochenski, then we wouldn’t be about to start another decade of full-fledged war. but that’s exactly what will happen. and it will continue because enough brainwashed americans believe the propaganda that this is about “spreading democracy”.

    and remember what the presidential parrot squawks when it comes to the next stage of our berserker war policy with iran: all options are “on the table.”

    too many people either don’t know what that means, or don’t care. what it means is nuclear war. and since we started the nuclear age by incinerating hundreds of thousands of japs, it would be appropriate if it were us, once again, to take the nuclear jeanie out of the bottle.

    except this time i don’t think anyone will be able to put it back in once it’s out.

    • Moorcat

      Lizard,

      You really need to take a chill pill.. The “nuclear” option is NOT on the table and we are not about to start lobbing nukes in the middle east. It simply won’t happen.

      • lizard19

        you’re right, i shouldn’t take Obama at his word when he says ALL options are on the table. my bad.

        but i’m not talking about conventional atomic ordinances with big mushroom clouds, Moorcat. if you’ve been paying attention, there exist “tactical” nukes that are certainly on the table. Israel is itching to take out Iran’s phantom nuclear program (a program that was stopped in 2003 according to the IAEA report) with tactical nukes. and for some silly reason i see any use of any weapon that has “nuclear” in its name as being a bad thing. maybe that’s just me.

        • George Ochenski

          Lizard’s right – here’s the link.
          http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/5/5/4523/18646/296/509231

          • Moorcat

            First, I would venture to say I know a hell of a lot more about nuclear weapons than you do. I am well aware of what a tactical nuke is and I am also quite sure I know a lot more about both the devices and thier delivery than you do.

            Second, you link to a speculation piece written more than two years ago. Obviously, the nukes haven’t been used yet. Further, Lizard refered to Obama placing them on the table, the article was about Izreal using them.

            If any country in the Middle East is crazy enough to use a nuke, it is Isreal, but I just can’t see them using them unless they were backed into a “do or die” situation. When Saddam Insane was lobbing bombs at Isreal back in the early 90′s, I remember huddling in a bomb shelter hoping that they wouldn’t get that stupid (yes, I was stupid enough to get talked into going there to work on robotic wet processing stations during the first desert storm). If they were going to start lobbing nukes, that would have been the time.

            Sorry to burst your paranoid bubble, but the idea of the use of tactical nukes in the Middle east is just silly at this point. All bets are off, though, if Iran does manage to pull a North Korea and surprise the world with a nuke of thier own.

            • The Polish Wolf

              Everything I’ve read suggests that even Israel probably doesn’t have the capability to take out Iran’s nuclear program. Iran has learned from Iraq – its program is better protected and more secretive. Plus, the IAF would have to fly over Jordan and Iraq and get through Iranian air defenses (any chance those are on alert?) to the interior of Iran without being noticed and shot down. And in case of failure, well…Israel knows the consequences too well to attempt attacking Iran. They are merely posturing to pressure the US.

              • Yeah… cause Israel’s never fought a war and won it in a week… And Iran is such a powerful nation… And Israel couldn’t possibly have stealth fighters, or special forces agents who travel around the Middle East killing terrorists in such a spectacularly efficient manner as to require a movie made about them…

                I really want to see sources backing up your claims here.

              • The Polish Wolf

                “American air strikes on Iran would vastly exceed the scope of the 1981 Israeli attack on the Osiraq nuclear center in Iraq, and would more resemble the opening days of the 2003 air campaign against Iraq.”

                http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/iran-strikes.htm


                On the Iranian front, such a scenario remains of no guaranteed results, because the candidate Iranian sites to be targeted are numerous, widely scattered geographically, which means that the Iranian nuclear program will not be curdled by such an approach, and the best possible scenario for Israel would be hindering it but not stopping it. On the other side, the Iranian retaliation for such an escalation remains unknown, and the costs to be paid by Israel might be higher than what it could expect or even afford.

                …according to some estimations, the number of needed military strikes to eliminate the Iranian capacity to retaliate, is around 10 thousand strikes, on sites distributed on a huge geographical area, in a very short period of time.”

                http://www.alzaytouna.net/arabic/?c=1530&a=120378#4

                Israel may be able to pull it off, but it would be orders of magnitude more difficult than their most successful previous pre-emptive strikes.

              • Intellectual dishonesty.

                Above you said, “Everything I’ve read suggests that even Israel probably doesn’t have the capability to take out Iran’s nuclear program.”

                I ask you to back it up and you say this: “…according to some estimations, the number of needed military strikes to eliminate the Iranian capacity to retaliate, is around 10 thousand…” That’s not what we were talking about. We were not discussing Israel ending Iran’s ability to retaliate (which they most certainly could do, your sources say that). We were talking about the nuclear program of Iran, and Israel’s ability to end it. That would take MUCH less than 10,000 strikes. There are only 24 sites. Israel would not need to bomb each site 417 times.

                Your rhetorical style is that of a sniveling brat from MTV’s “My Super Sweet 16.” You just say things vaguely related to what you’re discussing as a means of pissing off the people trying to have a conversation with you so that they’re no longer able to type without wishing you stubbed toes and dripping faucets for life. At least Mark T has the decency to be a laugh.

                I mean good god. I should have learned my lesson when you blamed the Holocaust, and Stalinist/Maoist Communism on secular humanism (an astoundingly asinine leap in logic).

                And, yes, please point out that I’m using ad hominem attacks. I am. I’m doing it, because you’re an intellectually dishonest sycophant for some bastardized version of a neocon agenda with some sparingly libertarian moments sprinkled in to make you seem like you are some open-minded person who isn’t an ideologue. You are–it’s just a cheap, bland kind.

                You, Polish Wolf, are the vegan food of political discourse.

            • George Ochenski

              Hope you’re right, Moorcat. I don’t lose sleep over it since I have no control whatsoever over those decisions. Nor, realistically, do I think any of us can definitively say what is and isn’t on the table – or off the table. Then again, maybe you’ve been huddling up with Hillary and the Pentagon recently and can assure us all beyond a shadow of a doubt. Like I said, hope you’re right.

            • JC

              Silly? HOw quickly you forget that Hlllary Clinton, our current Secretary of State, campaigned on the use of nukes against Iran in order to brandish her hawkishness in contrast to Obama’s more laissez faire campaign rhetoric.

              As to whom knows more about nukes, let’s just say that I was being recruited by the military in the late 70′s to go to work for them on their nuke programs. I declined, and pursued a different career, as it cost me a graduate scholarship. Had something to do with a moral crisis I had over building weapons of mass destruction.

              • Moorcat

                what you declined, I accepted.

                As far as rhetoric from Clinton, it was just that… Pushing the button takes a lot more than stiff words from a person trying to get elected.

              • JC

                Yeah, but that’s the person advising the Prez, and is the spokesperson to the rest of the world.

                Not exactly a vanquished opponent like McCain.

        • Ingemar Johansson

          You’re both wrong.

          Israel has all ready attacked.

          http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/09/stuxnet/

  9. The Polish Wolf

    Democracy cannot arise out of the will of the people, as you so idealistically put it, when they are being suppressed by what amounts to a tiny minority of their population. And Afghanistan was hardly an Imperialistic endeavor – that tiny minority of Afghans committed an act of war against the United States, to which the United States responded. A failure to respond would have been essentially giving our consent to the action. We responded by targeting that group, destroying their leadership structure, and allowing a different group to gain power.

    NOW, Lizard, would you have stopped here – let Afghanistan take its course and let the warlords run it as they have for its entire history? That was certainly a viable option, and in America’s interest. On the other hand, we chose to do the slightly more ethical thing (no doubt to avoid the criticism of the rest of the world) – attempt to, having punished the minority that attacked us, make life better for the majority. We succeeded, but only because our aim at the time was rather low – support a governing structure superior to the Taliban.
    Our goals of creating a self-sustaining Democracy may be unattainable countrywide, but in the core of the country life is still better than it was under the Taliban.

    You continue to bring up Iraq – no one is denying that was a waste of our national treasure and Iraqi lives. It was a nation at peace with a functional if despotic government. Afghanistan as a nation has never been at peace. Let me repeat that – Afghanistan has never really seen peace. The war against the Taliban had been under way non-stop since the Taliban started to exist. Before that, they fought Russians, before that, Brits, before that they rebelled against Persia and indeed destroyed the first Persian theocracy. And all the while they have been fighting each other. So, what would Afghanistan be without our ‘imperialism’? It would still be a nation at war with itself. Our predator drones do kill, and they do kill innocents, but the death of innocents is nothing new in Afghan society. Were we to withdraw now, or had we withdrawn earlier, or had we indeed consented to 9/11 by failing to chase the perpetrators, the situation would be no more peaceful.

    And then you quote a ludicrous point – America’s ‘hatred for Muslims’. Far from it! We sided with the Bosnians against Christians, we sided with the Albanians against Christians, we sided with the religious Saudis against the secular Iraqis, : American foreign policy sees no religions. When we or our allies are attacked (or when our interests broadly defied are threatened), we devastate Christians, Buddhists, Shintoists, and atheists alike. If anything, Muslims by sheer luck have avoided the worst of American warfare by not going to war with us until this decade, thus ensuring we would at least make marginal efforts at not targeting civilians.

    • where does democracy rise out of then pw? and correct me if i am wrong but it seems that our revolution began because a (in your words) “…when they are being suppressed by what amounts to a tiny minority of their population.” tories i believe.

      and i believe responding to a terrorist attack for 9 years is long enough, don’t you think? also, i believe there are more effective ways to take out terrorists than to occupy whole countries.

      i also believe this guy…

      because he knows a hell of a lot more about afghanistan than any of us ever will…

      More Of The Same Failed Policies?

      Matthew Hoh, a former Marine Corps captain who served in Afghanistan, says the U.S. has been doing counterinsurgency since 2004 and that the current strategy is just more of what has failed over the past few years.

      “I have a list of quotes from every commanding general since 2004 in Afghanistan, assuring success, assuring that victory is one year away, they just need some more troops and some more time,” he says.

      Hoh, now a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and the director of the Afghanistan Study Group, says sinking more resources into Afghanistan is counterproductive.

      “As every year we add more troops or spend more money, the Taliban grow in size, and support for the Karzai government decreases, and the conflict gets worse along any measure you want to measure, whether it’s IEDs, civilian casualties, coalition casualties,” Hoh says.

      According to a new book by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, the notion of continually adding more troops and time to the conflict was a factor for Obama when he considered the current strategy for Afghanistan.

      Woodward says the president crafted his own exit strategy and issued a six-page document outlining the terms of U.S. involvement there. Interviews in the book confirm long-held speculation that there are deep divisions within the administration over Afghanistan.

      NPR has the report here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130053575&ft=1&f=3

  10. The Polish Wolf

    Also, how liberal do you have to be before its OK to throw around the word ‘jap’?

  11. lizard19

    poor oppressed Afghanis. they must be so happy they got liberated by us. sure, every once in a while we blow up a wedding party, and every once in a while those midnight raids result in murdering women and children, but hey, that’s the price of liberation, right?

    wolf, if you think afghanistan is “hardly an imperial endeavor” then there’s probably not much i can say to convince you otherwise. but it is. it was for Britain, it was for the Soviets, and it is for us. look at a map. the Khyber pass and access to the Caspian Sea is of supreme geopolitical importance. this is part of our long war against Russia and the waking giant, China. but i don’t expect you to understand that; not many Americans do.

    i will agree with you that American foreign policy sees no religion. how can it when it’s caught up in the fever dreams of global dominance?

    and it appears our elected leaders are willing to sacrifice anything and everything domestically in order to keep our global war machine moving forward. and that is why Obama is bombing Yemen, increasing predator drone strikes, refocusing efforts in Latin America by beefing up our presence in Columbia, and increasing covert operation in over 130 countries. that is why we look the other way when Honduras experienced a coup, support any atrocity Israel commits, and keep threatening nuclear war in the Middle East against Iran.

    as for using the word “jap” i did so consciously. using a term like that is how a population dehumanizes a group of people before it does something terrible, like drop a couple atom bombs.

    and now it’s the towel heads experiencing the jackboot of American Imperialism.

    Wolf, this is what you are supporting. and you seem to think poor Afghanis welcome our invasion. how many Afghanis do you talk with, Wolf, to be able to make that assertion? or are you just swallowing the spoon-fed propaganda about our noble intentions of liberation and spreading Democracy?

    if we really invaded and occupied Afghanistan to vanquish Al-Qaeda, then why are we still there? by the military’s own admission, there are less than 100 “terrorists” left in the country. it doesn’t make any sense unless you understand our country’s imperial ambitions.

    so wake up and smell the decline of American Empire, wolf.

    • Moorcat

      Does Lizard = Mark T? He sure sounds a lot like him

      • petetalbot

        I assume your comment is tongue-in-cheek, Moorcat. Although occasionally Lizard and Mark T’s comments are similar (sometimes even my comments/posts are similar to Mark T’s comments/posts) they are not the same person — this I guarantee.

        For one thing, Lizard is a lover and writer of poetry. I have yet to see any verse come from Mark T.

        • Moorcat

          yes is was tongue firmly in cheek.. I know that they are not the same person. In this case, he seemed to be channeling Mark T.

      • Sounds like the man has a conscience. You, on the other hand, seem infected with imperial arrogance. I’ll choose convictions in the face of ridicule over submission to belong to the group – anytime.

        But then, Moorcat, you can always get your gun and head out to the woods and shoot a squirrel and prove your manhood again.

        Not that I’m Mark or anything.

  12. Pogo Possum

    Welcome Back Carter

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704129204575505822147816104.html

    “Comparisons between the Obama White House and the failed presidency of Jimmy Carter are increasingly being made—and by Democrats.”

    “Mr. Carter himself is heightening comparisons with his own presidency by publishing his White House diaries this week. “I overburdened Congress with an array of controversial and politically costly requests,” he said on Monday. The parallels to Mr. Obama’s experience are clear. “

    • Turner

      So, Pogo, are you faulting Obama and Dems in congress for trying to do too many things? Should they have backed off on DADT, health care, financial reform?

      Do you really think that the Republicans would’ve been more cooperative if the Dems had attempted fewer things?

      I don’t. The problem for Obama and the Dems in congress is that the Republicans and the right-wing propaganda machine tried, with at least partial success, to undercut everything the Dems attempted.

      I don’t think Obama should ever be criticized for trying to help Americans in a number of ways. And I don’t think we should ever forget that Republicans don’t give a shit about Americans.

      • Ingemar Johansson

        You’re full of it. This is what happened.

        They said ‘we’re gonna pass this.’

        We* said ‘Don’t!’

        They said ‘we’re gonna pass this.’

        We* said ‘Don’t!’

        They said ‘we’re gonna pass this.’

        We* said ‘Don’t!’

        They said ‘we’re gonna pass this.’

        We* said ‘Don’t! We don’t want this!’

        And then they passed it.

        And you’re surprised it blew up in your face?

        * We=the majority.

        • wrong. we said pass a better bill with public option (70%)

          dems didn’t listen to us. (the majority)

          nobody knows what the hell you idiots were talking about except a bunch of old geezers who already had medicaire and didn’t give a rats ass about the majority (us)

          and the dems listened to you morons. so now we have to put up with health insurance maggots because they wrote the bill for themselves.

          • i’m a little worked up about this tonight. sorry. but i hate it when right wing nuts try to rewrite history.

            • The Polish Wolf

              Good narrative, but you forgot the best part where then we (the majority supporting a public option) get blamed for this health care mess caused by the screeching of the people who believed in death panels.

              • Ingemar Johansson

                Ya, guess you’re right. Who’d ever ever believe that panel BS.

                http://www.breitbart.tv/obamas-budget-director-powerful-rationing-panel-not-doctors-will-control-health-care-levels/

  13. The Polish Wolf

    Lizard – If we had imperial ambitions, we would have stayed in Iraq, we would not have announced our intention to leave Afghanistan, and we wouldn’t be messing around in Yemen.

    Iraq and Afghanistan are not comparable in terms of motivation – No one talked about Afghanistan before 9/11, it was a non-issue for twenty years – with the USSR defeated, we deliberately ignored Afghanistan, acting like it was none of our concern. Then, all of the sudden we were attacked, and we invaded Afghanistan despite not particularly wanting to. (If we wanted to control the Caspian, we would have involved ourselves in the Azerbaijan/Armenia conflicts of the 90′s, or some other state actually bordering the Caspian!

    Iraq had been the war neo-cons wished they could get into for decades – Bush I refused to ‘finish their job’ as they saw it. Thus, there was a months-long propaganda blitz to convince us that this non-problem was a problem.

    As for my numbers, no, they don’t come from me talking to Afghans, they come from a poll published by Mother Jones magazine, so not exactly your mainstream media. The poll showed that American troops were unpopular, the Taliban even less popular, and Al-Qaeda least of all. Pakistan fairs hardly better – interestingly, India is the most popular foreign power. This was a few months ago, but the numbers are likely similar.

    Our ‘imperial ambitions’ wax and wane – and I won’t deny that they have been waxing. But you ask why we didn’t leave after we destroyed the Al Qaeda organization in 2001-2002. Would you prefer we did, and would you argue that Afghanistan would be best if we had left them to their own civil war rather than supporting one side? If you truly believe that, you have to believe that Afghans we kill are somehow more dead than those killed by other Afghans. The majority of Afghan civilians killed die from the efforts of the Taliban, and I us leaving too quickly would mean that that conflict would continue until the Taliban was once more in control.

    • JC

      “If we had imperial ambitions, we would have stayed in Iraq”

      We haven’t left Iraq, and judging by the number of bases, and size of remaining forces, civilians, and state dept. officials, I’d call it an ongoing occupation.

      “we would not have announced our intention to leave Afghanistan”

      As with Iraq, it is a hollow pronouncement.

      Iraq has oil, and Afghanistan has other precious/strategic minerals to exploit. It was no coincidence that earlier this year the DoD dredged up an old mineral exploration report talking about the potential mineral exploitation exploration there, as they were announcing other strategic plans.

      Just because the overt message handed over to the media by this administration is that we aren’t engaged in imperialistic behavior doesn’t make it so. But judging by your statements, it appears that the white wash has been pretty effective.

      As to American Imperialism, take a look at this article about our military presence around the world, and come back and tell us that we aren’t seeing the largest imperial global empire the world has ever seen.

      American Imperialism really is no different than that of say the British or Soviets. You’ve got to get out of the fishbowl to see it, though.

      • The Polish Wolf

        Hmm…I’m gonna call bullshit. America is an ‘empire’ of sorts, but we’re an empire that has allowed and in fact fueled the largest surge of development the world has ever seen. Like I’ve said before, most people now live under Democracies in the world today, most people have better living conditions than they did fifty years ago, most people are guaranteed basic human rights. You can pretend that these things would be true without American ‘imperialism’, but you’d be wrong. You can argue that its not perfect, and you’d be right – but you’ll have trouble finding an alternative.

        • JC

          “we’re an empire that has allowed and in fact fueled the largest surge of development the world has ever seen.”

          And that development was driven by altruism? NO. It was fueled by the desire to exploit cheap labor, fragile governments, and abundant resources. The same sort of goals that drove british hegemony.

          “most people now live under Democracies in the world today”

          NOw there’s some bullshit. Leaving aside the philosophical argument about whether or not a nation where corporations are being treated more and more as people can be called a “democracy”, or what constitutes a “democracy” (like the governments we are installing in Iraq and Afghanistan), this plainly is a hollow assertion.

          “most people have better living conditions than they did fifty years “

          Again, I call bullshit. There are far more people in poverty in the U.S. today than there were 50years ago–in fact there are more people in poverty in the U.S. than any other time since the Great Depression. And that scenario is mirrored around the world.

          “You can pretend that these things would be true without American ‘imperialism’”

          It is exactly American hegemony that has driven the world to the state it is in right now. WHich in my book isn’t the greatest… but maybe it is if’n you’re one of those chosen few living in the shining city of the hill who believe in the great myth about american exceptionalism. A myth that has provided the fuel by which the american people can ignore the true impact of our imperial empire.

          • The Polish Wolf

            JC, development is NEVER DRIVEN BY ALTRUISM. Capitalist development is more efficient. Less fair, more efficient. Thus, our efforts to spread capitalism has in fact caused economic growth nearly everywhere in the world.

            As to Democracy – you can complain about corporations all you want, but your complaint is a domestic one. Almost all of Europe is democratic, where fifty years ago it was less than half. India is a democracy now, fifty years ago it was in chaos. All of mainland Latin America is controlled by democracies. Fifty years ago, tany democracies existing were sham democracies. Yes, we fought some of those democracies, but by inhibiting the spread of communism we made them possible. Indonesia, much of Africa, Thailand, etc. are more democratic than they were fifty years ago.

            Regarding living better – again, your complaint is domestic. Hundreds of millions of people who were in poverty fifty years ago are seeing their children reach middle class in India, China, Russia, and Eastern Europe. Even the poor in America today are better off than the lower middle class in the 50′s, except that they feel poorer.

            You fall victim to the tragic drug of nostalgia, JC. Fifty years ago, most of the world lived under repressive regimes in deadly poverty with no mobility. We now live in a world where most people have access to more goods and better health care and more human rights than before America became an Empire. Could we have done it better? Yes. But all in all, the world is better than it would be under an isolationist America.

            • JC

              And what you point to is america in decline.

              “the world is better than it would be under an isolationist America.”

              You have absolutely no basis for this assertion. One will never know what the progression of worldly events would have been in the absence of american hegemony.

              Your quote is nothing more than a paean to american exceptionalism.

              • The Polish Wolf

                You’re right – counter-factual history is always a risky exercise. But if you can come up with a good end to a scenario that starts with America remaining completely neutral in 1939, you have a better imagination than I do.

        • Moorcat

          Most people – not including Americans. I would remind you that poverty is currently at level not seen since the Great Depression. I think it sucks that we spend so much time and money on “fixing” the problems of the world at the expense of our own people.

          • got that right moorcat. i am channeling my cartman right now….

            i am tired of hippies trying to save the world when we have enough problems right here at home….

            http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/154822

            but this is my favorite… http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/103809

  14. Afghanistan will do what they have always done which is fight each other with or without our young people.

    We should have 8 years ago and shored up our domestic defense.

    The coast guard first. Followed by port and airport security. Ask any afghan vet. They will tell you how stupid it is to be there.

    This war is pointless.

  15. The Polish Wolf

    We’ll come back to this in three years and see how it turns out – I bet Afghans will still fight each other, but in the parts of Afghanistan run by the central government, life will be better. I never said Afghanistan was good for our self-interest, that was Lizard’s claim. I merely said it was better for the Afghans than us leaving, and that it was not comparable to what the Russians were trying to do.

    • JC

      “I merely said it was better for the Afghans than us leaving”

      And which Afghanis would that be? Taliban are Afghani, too. Are we trying to eradicate the Taliban? I don’t think so.

      The longer we stay in Afghanistan, the more it fuels a radical Taliban resurgence, and gives al-Qaida a base of dissidents from which to empower their return when we reduce our presence.

      • The Polish Wolf

        We’re not trying to eradicate the Taliban?

        • JC

          You need to get out and read more widely. No we’re not trying to eradicate the Taliban. In fact reconciliation with the Taliban in Afghanistan and its government is essential to any sort of long lasting stability in Afghanistan. Here, read this report from the CFR as a primer:

          “…not all former Taliban members have joined this fight. Many heeded a call by President Karzai to disarm and have assumed normal lives as members of Afghan society. Some even won seats in Afghanistan’s 2005 parliamentary election, including the former Taliban governor of Bamiyan Province, who was in office when the Bamiyan Buddhas were destroyed. Leaders who remain engaged militarily are also intent on repairing a tattered image.”

          Sure, let’s just wipe out the Taliban. Geez, you sound like a neocon.

          • The Polish Wolf

            The Taliban are a military organization, not an ethnicity. If you put down your weapons, you are no longer a member of the Taliban. Hence the wording “former Taliban.” I agree, if you can get them to participate in the government, they are no longer part of the Taliban and you have made much better progress towards eliminating the Taliban than if you shoot them.

            • i think providing a few links for your assertions here would be a little more convincing pw….

              not that we don’t believe that you are a veritable font of knowledge here (unstoppable apparently)

              meanwhile, poll numbers say that the majority of americans don’t give a rats ass what happens to afghanistan, the taliban or to any of the countries you ramble on about.

              we are hurting in america. you get that right? i mean. you don’t have to be unemployed to understand that we need to take care of this country first and forget about saving the world for awhile.

              something tells me that if you had a child aged 18-21, you wouldn’t be so willing to provide your own flesh and blood to be road bombed so some mythical democracy can be somehow established (maybe) but doubtful

              • The Polish Wolf

                That’s why we don’t have a draft. The people in the army want to fight, they want to do what they know is right.

                http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-10547610

                And I apologize, problembear and lizard, but the fact is that whatever poverty we have in the US looks like luxury in most of the world, and because I really believe a life is a life no matter where it is, America can sacrifice to keep Islamic fundamentalism at bay in Afghanistan. We ignored it once.

                And let me point out the crucial rhetorical about face y’all make – one minute, America is an evil Empire out only for its own good, the next minute, we are foolishly fighting and dying when we should be worried about Americans right here at home who are fighting to stay in houses whole families of Afghans could live in.

                Oh, and you’d like another link?

                Taliban – a fundamentalist Islamic militia; in 1995 the Taliban militia took over Afghanistan and in 1996 took Kabul and set up an Islamic government)

                http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=taliban

                Should you lay down your arms, you cease being a militia. Hence, your own sources referring to ‘ex-Taliban’ forces in the Afghan government.

              • that is one of the sorriest attempts of using links to try to justify a thoroughly bankrupt point of view i have ever seen. and i have done battle with some of the worst morons on the right. who in his right mind would attempt to justify sending young men into battle because they want to do it….what the hell are you trying to prove with those complete embarrassments of links of yours pw.

                are you sure you are getting enough sleep?

                i am sincerely embarrassed for you. good night. i have work to do tomorrow. let me know when you come out of your stupor.

  16. three years? jon tester ran on getting us out of there four years ago.

    it is about time that we held our representatives to their promises.

    what i hear polish wolf saying is blah blah blah yeah but…blah blah blah yeah but…..

    we’ve been hearing that for eight years now from apologists of both parties. the american people are sick of hearing excuses from hand-wringers who say yeah we should get out of there and to wait just a little while longer and everything will be ok.

    nothing will be ok in afghanistan no matter what we do. we need to get the hell out now.

    • Quit speaking for “we”, please. Seriously, pbear. You got no cred on “we”. Just quit, please.

      • request denied. http://www.alan.com/2010/07/14/54-of-americans-want-us-out-of-afghanistan/

        http://www.fpif.org/blog/Afghanistan_taliban_negotiations_kandahar

        and the polling numbers are increasing for “we” the people with each day…. http://www.pollingreport.com/afghan.htm

        • The Polish Wolf

          Yup, the majority of Americans are usually right…like in Iraq. Pbear, I respect your resistance to the mainstream view of things, and I never claimed the US to be innocent of any of this, but all you hear is blah blah blah, its because you’re not listening. You are engaging thoroughly in the ahistoricizing of Afghanistan, something Edward Said described quite well. Because Afghanistan has been violent in the past, the assumption is that is the only way Afghanistan can be.

          You’re right on one point, though – the Taliban are Afghans, too. And right now they are really the only group of Afghans that hasn’t consented to the government that is extant there. I imagine you probably thought Iraq would always have violence, too. And you would be right, but there’s a matter of degrees. The instability in Iraq now is nothing compared to the all out civil war a few years ago. Afghanistan won’t be Switzerland anytime soon, but it is already better than under the Taliban, and that’s why I hope we’re still blogging in three years to see what has become of the country. For their sake, I hope we don’t lose heart too soon.

          • JC

            “they are really the only group of Afghans that hasn’t consented to the government that is extant there.”

            More bullshit. Look at the link that I provided you above. The Taliban is active in the current Afghani government–including elected officials.

  17. Pogo Possum

    Turner “. . . are you faulting Obama and Dems in congress for trying to do too many things?”

    No, Turner. Jimmy Carter is.

  18. Pogo Possum

    Go to this link and hum a long, Turner. http://www.squidoo.com/welcome-back-kotter-merchandise

    Here are the words if you want to join in.

    Welcome Back Kotter

    Welcome back,
    Your dreams were your ticket out.

    Welcome back,
    To that same old place that you laughed about.

    Well the names have all changed since you hung around,
    But those dreams have remained and they’re turned around.

    Who’d have thought they’d lead ya (Who’d have thought they’d lead ya)
    Here where we need ya (Here where we need ya)

    Yeah we tease him a lot cause we’ve got him on the spot, welcome back,
    Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back.

  19. Pogo Possum

    Cast Members for the new “Welcome Back Carter” series include:

    Gabe Kotter (the facetious but well-meaning teacher of Buchanan HS) – Played by President Barack Obama

    Julie Kotter (Gabe’s wife and closest friend) – Played by Michelle Obama

    Vinnie Barbarino (the cocky “unofficial official” leader and resident heartthrob of the Sweathogs) – Played by Senior Advisor, David Axelrod

    Mr. Woodman (the curmudgeonly vice-principal) – Played by Secretary of Defense, Robert M Gates

    Rosalie “Hotsie” Totsie (The femme fatale purported to have put the “sweat” in Sweathog) – Played by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosie

    Judy Borden (A recurring non-Sweathog character in the earlier seasons, Borden is a Straight A student and editor of the Buchanan Bugle, the school newspaper. She was Barbarino’s tutor at one point, and even dated him for a time. Despite her academic superiority, she can easily hold her own in a ranking contest with any Sweathog) – Played by Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton

    Freddie “Boom Boom” Percy Washington (The hip African-American known as the athletic Sweathog for his skills on the basketball court. Though often the voice of reason among his classmates, Washington nonetheless was a willing participant in the Sweathogs’ various antics and pranks.) – Played by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen David Petraeus

    Arnold Horshack (The class clown of the Sweathogs, completely comfortable with his oddball, if innocent personality) – Played by Vice President, Joe Biden

    Producers are still looking to fill the role of Epstein, the fiercely proud Puerto Rican Jew and one of the toughest students at Buchanan High voted “Most Likely To Take A Life” by his peers

  20. Ingemar Johansson

    Like I said.

    The party of dead people.

  21. The Polish Wolf

    Well you all, these replies are getting a little thin – and I mean literally, there’s only three words per line. While apparently y’all are incensed by my opinion, I continue to respect yours. It comes down to three differences, and I think they are fair enough differences to hold. 1) I believe that America is capable of doing good for the world despite our sins and improper motive, and that the withdrawal of America from international affairs will end as well as it did in 1919. 2) I believe Afghanistan is better than it was in 2001, and that it is capable of becoming an actual state 3) Even if the above are not true, America’s act of remaining in Afghanistan to protect a nominally elected government is not comparable to the Soviet effort to subdue the country for the purpose of making it a virtual SSR.

    So, perhaps I’m a sniveling brat, or a sycophant repeating bastardized neocon ideology. Or maybe we have different experiences leading to different outcomes – I lived in Poland (a country that is grateful for US interventionism) and have visited and studied Bosnia, a country wherein many people suffered due to US isolationism. You all have different experiences and so naturally different opinions. But if you can’t discuss a different viewpoint without resorting to ad hominem attacks, it makes me doubt the intellectual depth of your own opinions.

    • i don’t think it is you we are mad at pw. you just got in the line of fire where a lot of frustration about democratic promises is continuing to be ignored by democratic leadership in obeying the will of the majority of this country.

      i for one, do often agree with your opinions and many of your arguments. but the level of stupidity that has been exhibited by democratic leadership in this country is starting to make those of us who work hard to try to make things better for regular people who work for a living, a little on the furious side.

      sorry you got caught in the crosshairs. now if a mr jim messina would dare to comment here i would be glad to unleash an arsenal of bitter resentment heretofore unheard of in the universe of the internet.

  22. The Polish Wolf

    And to Douganz especially:

    While your attacks on my character made me chuckle, considering you know next to nothing about me, I am sensitive to the claim of intellectual dishonesty. I wasn’t able to find articles to prove what I was trying to prove, and I apologize for making a claim I couldn’t prove. But if you read what I gave you it makes clear that Israel can’t be sure an air strike would be successful, nor that the resulting retaliation would make it worth the price if it was. Israel can’t even bomb Hezbollah into submission, much less an actual country with its own recently enhanced air defense and SAS missiles capable of retaliation. Last of all, Israel has bluffed before.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2003/oct/13/20031013-121441-2893r/?page=2

    Israel attacking Iran would be nothing like anything they have ever pulled off before, and that’s why they are politically incapable of it, even if they may have the (unproven) military ability. Thus, it is many times more likely that it is as I proposed – they are bluffing, pushing the edge, in order to force our hands.

  23. Ingemar Johansson

    Wolfinsky, you’re not getting it.

    Warfare has changed since The Enola Gay rolled out onto the tarmac. This will be a cyber war. A war which Israel cripples from within.

    The Drones will pick off the rest. Repeat Link.

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/09/stuxnet/

    • The Polish Wolf

      Ha, I like “Wolfinsky”. But I don’t think we’re quite to that point yet – the virus was supposed to be among the most sophisticated ever caught, and yet despite its impressive technical capabilities it failed to cause significant industrial damage. But if Israel or any state can cripple Iran’s nuclear program with a computer virus, so much the better. Think of the lives that could be saved if nations could attack one another’s targeting and military capacities without killing anyone who happened to be nearby? (Mind you, I say this now under the assumption that South Korea stays allied with us!)

      • lizard19

        why is iran considered such a threat? why is targeting this country with nuclear strikes or cyber strikes preferable to leaving them the fuck alone?

        maybe it’s because we undermined their ELECTED leader, mossedegh, in 1953, and unlike superpowers with amnesia, they remember and are still pissed.

        • The Polish Wolf

          I never claimed that the US is innocent, but what happened happened, and we have to decide what we’re going to do about it. Is attacking Iran superior to letting them get nuclear weapon? Personally, I think not – as long as Israel doesn’t take matters into their own hands. But is crippling their nuclear program without firing a shot preferable to Iran having nuclear weapons? Absolutely. Is it possible? It’s looking like not yet. If someone does succeed therein, I think we should give them access to light-water technology, to make it clear that one route to nuclear energy is clearly viable, and the other is not.

    • The Polish Wolf

      Actually, looks like they got close – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11414483

      • Ingemar Johansson

        A lot closer than you think.

        S. Wolf says:
        October 1, 2010 at 11:51 PM
        An alarmed Iran asks for outside help to stop rampaging Stuxnet malworm
        ‘Tehran this week secretly appealed to a number of computer security experts in West and East Europe with offers of handsome fees for consultations on ways to exorcize the Stuxnet worm spreading havoc through the computer networks and administrative software of its most important industrial complexes and military command centers.
        None of the foreign experts has so far come forward because Tehran refuses to provide precise information on the sensitive centers and systems under attack and give the visiting specialists the locations where they would need to work. They were not told whether they would be called on to work outside Tehran or given access to affected sites to study how they function and how the malworm managed to disable them. Iran also refuses to give out data on the changes its engineers have made to imported SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems, mostly from Germany.
        The impression debkafile sources gained Wednesday, Sept. 29 from talking to European computer experts approached for aid was that the Iranians are getting desperate. Not only have their own attempts to defeat the invading worm failed, but they made matters worse: The malworm became more aggressive and returned to the attack on parts of the systems damaged in the initial attack.
        One expert said: “The Iranians have been forced to realize that they would be better off not ‘irritating’ the invader because it hits back with a bigger punch.”
        As it is, the Iranian officials who turned outside for help were described by another of the experts they approached as alarmed and frustrated. It has dawned on them that the trouble cannot be waved away overnight but is around for the long haul. Finding a credible specialist with the magic code for ridding them of the cyber enemy could take several months. After their own attempts to defeat Stuxnet backfired, all the Iranians can do now is to sit back and hope for the best, helpless to predict the worm’s next target and which other of their strategic industries will go down or be robbed of its secrets next.’

        In short they’re f*cked. They either have to go for outside help (exposing their nuclear progress) or let the worm run its destructive course.

        Or maybe you guys would prefer bunker busters?
        http://www.debka.com/article/9050/

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